The Thursday Activist Reader is designed to be an online readers’ pick compilation of reading and discussion for a better world. You are invited to join in the discussion as well as in sending a list of one or more articles from your reading that you think would be informative and interesting to Comox Valley activists.

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What’s Happening to American Democracy?

http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/peopleandpower/2016/03/happening-american-democracy-160323094609454.html

We all know that American Democracy is an oxymoron—it’s just a lot more obvious these days.  It is interesting to note how utterly  disenchanted voters   there with  the political establishment in Washington.

Drumpf’s simply stated goal to “Make America great again” targets the economic anxieties of voters who feel they have long been neglected by their elected officials in Washington DC. However I was also intrigued to learn that some of Drumpf’s magic comes from a platform that says if he is elected all people making less than  $50,000 will pay no taxes!—bit of a vote getter! –enough to make people blind to the absurd idea of building  a 4000mile wall along the Mexican border—and assuming that Mexico will pay for it!!!! Then there is the idea of deporting 4 million Mexicans.  That would have dire consequences for labour supply among other logistical problems.  I really wonder where all this will end up; it’s like a poorly acted fantasy movie.

Do you know that, due to the Citizens United Supreme Court decision unleashing fountains—or vast rivers—of  money into the political system in search of even more tax breaks and subsidizes for corporations and the wealthy, there is now a a tsunami of cash into the American electoral process that corrupts everyone and every thing it touches?

“The reason US companies are so keen on buying influence in Congress is because it allows them to push through legislation that is of enormous financial benefit to them. One of the best examples of this is a law that provides a tax extender called the Active Financing Exception. It allows companies to avoid paying taxes on the huge profits made by their offshore subsidiaries unless that money is brought back into the US.

As a result of tax loopholes like the Active Financing Exception, billions of dollars of profit end up in offshore tax havens such as the Cayman Islands. A quarter of US Fortune 500 companies have set up subsidiaries in the Caymans.”

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Assisted Dying Canada: First Person In Ontario To Get Legal Permission Dies

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2016/03/18/assisted-dying-ontario-man_n_9498564.html

Assisted dying is one more reason why it is so wonderful that the Harper Government isn’t with us. Clearly the vast majority of Canadians recognize –feel in their hearts—that not allowing a person with a terminal illness, suffering with unremitted pain should be allowed help in ending their life with dignity. Harper was set on resisting this ruling by the Supreme Court in all ways possible but that day is, fortunately over.

This utterly moving story makes apparent how important this issue is to fundamental dignity and human rights.

This Friday an elderly man in Ontario died less than 24 hours after a court approved his doctor-assisted death in the first such case in Ontario, his family said.

The married father and grandfather, 81, had been suffering from terminal lymphoma and was all but bed-ridden and in unbearable pain.

In a release to the press the family said “Our dear husband, father and grandfather passed away in peace and dignity with the assistance.

It was his life and his choice, and we support him in that choice unconditionally.”

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Oilsands growth in doubt and could affect national GDP, federal finance report warns

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/oilsands-investment-economy-gdp-alberta-fed-report-1.3500768

I hope this comes home to Canadians—the absurdity of the  idea that Conservatives, because they pander after corporate interests, are—infact—the best at managing the economy.  It was profoundly wrong both economically and environmentally to bet the farm on tar sands as almost the entire focus of economic growth in Canada.  We are, clearly, not going see significant development in the oilsands for a very long time. A report by the federal Department of Finance sites how a severe downturn in oil prices has led to tens of thousands of job losses and deep cuts to investment. It’s uncertain, even if oil prices come back, how many of those will come back on the books.” Because of its high costs and climate change footprint, Canadian oilsands would face the brunt of the post-2020 reduction in oil demand (even with a price approaching $80).” Long term, the oilsands are not viable,” said Allan Dwyer, a finance professor at Mount Royal University in Calgary.